peterhk asked: Sorry if this is a bit long, but one of the songs on the album "Live in Fiddler's House" (Klezmer Conservatory Band with Itzhak Perlman, great recording BTW) has the lyric "Geb zhe mir dayn piskele, geb zhe mir ayn kish" which I thought was "Give me your lips, give me a kiss". However I see that "pisk" is actually "snout", or impolite slang for mouth (implying animal mouth). Does "piskele" make it nicer? TIA!
The diminutive -l or -ele ending is often used as an endearment. I would suspect that whoever authored the song felt that the diminutive of the normal word for a mouth,maylkhele, didn’t sound as sweet or endearing as piskele, even though, as you note, pisk, as opposed to moyl, usually connotes an animal mouth or snout.
peterhk asked: "Maybe instead it was geferlekh?" Could well be! She certainly said it with a note of sarcasm. I was thinking that maybe it was a Yiddish variant of the German word "gefällig", which can mean "pleasing", but your idea sounds more likely.
The verb gefeln exists in Yiddish as well with the meaning “to please.” However, I’m not aware of an adjectivegefelik/g in traditional Yiddish (perhaps more Germanicized Yiddish used such a word). That’s why I thought it might have been geferlekh…
peterhk asked: I can remember my grandmother talking with her friend, and saying with a sarcastic wave of her hand (as best I can recall) "gefellige meyse". I think this means "wonderful story". Is that right. TIA!
Hmmm, I’m a little stumped by this one. The normal Yiddish word for “wonderful” is vunderlekh, but it doesn’t seem like that’s what you heard. Maybe instead it was geferlekh? The word literally means “terrible” - just the opposite of “wonderful” - but perhaps that was exactly your grandmother’s intention with her sarcastic wave of the hand?
Anonymous asked: "freg mikh bekheyrem" means "I don't know". It includes "kheyrem" which means ostracism or ban. Can anybody explain the literal meaning, ie what does banning have to do with it? TIA!
As our friends at the Yiddish WoD blog write, freg mikh bekheyrem means: even if you put me under the ban, I still won’t be able to answer you. Hope that helps!
Anonymous asked: what does grischke mean. My mother said it's like naging
That’s exactly it! Grizhen (the zh is pronounced like the J in the French name Jacques) means “to nibble, nag, gnaw.” Your mother was right on target!
Reklamirin, Shulamit Seidler-Feller
Reklamirn - רעקלאמירן \rek-la-MIR-en\ Verb \ Past Participle: Reklamirt:
Alternative verbal usage: makhn reklame (מאכן רעקלאמע) - lit., to make an announcement (based on the German “Reklame machen”).
Synonyms: anonsirn (אנאנסירן), meldn (מעלדן). German equivalents: annoncieren, bekanntmachen, reklamieren, werben.
Etymology: The word derives from New High German “reklamieren,” with the root going back ultimately to Latin “reclāmāre” (to call back). This root apparently came into German and many other European languages in the modern period via French. As a result, it has many cognates (though often with slightly different meanings): Catalan “reclamar,” Danish “reklamere,” Italian “reclamare,” Modern English “reclaim,” Modern French “réclamer,” Old French “reclamer,” Portuguese “reclamar,” Spanish “reclamar,” and Swedish “reklamera.” And the noun form also occurs plenty: Croatian “reklama,” Czech “reklama,” Danish “reklame,” Dutch “reclame,” Estonian “reklaam,” Hungarian “reklám,” Lithuanian “reklama,” Norwegian “reklame,” Polish “reklama,” Portuguese “reclame,” Romanian “reclamă,” Russian rekláma, Spanish “reclamo,” and Swedish “reklam.”
Derivatives of reklamirn: info-reklame (אינפא-רעקלאמע) - an infomercial; reklame (רעקלאמע) - an advertisement; reklame-agent (רעקלאמע-אגענט) - an advertising agent; reklame-kleper (רעקלאמע-קלעפער) - an advertisement poster (i.e. someone who goes around posting advertisements on walls); reklameray (רעקלאמעריי) - publicity, advertising.
Reklamirn in a sentence: Ikh hob shoyn eyn khoydesh reklamirt oyf mayn Gchat status az ikh zukh a mitvoyner farn kumedikn yor, ober keyner interesirt zikh nisht… (איך האב שוין איין חודש רעקלאמירט אויף מיין דזשיטשאט סטאטוס אז איך זוך א מיטוווינער פארן קומעדיקן יאר, אבער קיינער אינטערעסירט זיך נישט) - I have been advertising on my Gchat status that I am looking for a roommate for next year for a month already, but no one seems interested… :(
Use reklamirn in your own sentence today!
For those interested, the Aaron and Sonia Fishman Foundation for Yiddish Culture is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, established in 1966, which seeks to spread knowledge of Yiddish among Jewish children and youth by funding new, innovative educational projects. The Foundation is currently accepting applications for the 2013 grant cycle, and instructions for how to apply can be found on the website, together with miscellaneous information about the organization itself.
In addition, OnTheMainLine, a fantastic blog with fun posts on fascinating pieces of Jewish bibliographic/periodical/intellectual (mostly English-language) history, recently (a couple months ago) featured a Yiddish translation, by H. Rosenblatt, of Edgar Alan Poe’s “The Raven” (a personal favorite), published originally in 1904 in the journal Di Tsukunft (the full version of the translation is available in the Comments section). Also, check out the comments (specifically that of SoMeHoW Frum) for a funny adaptation of “The Raven” which explores those all-too-common computer crashes we all experience (h/t Ben Ehrenkranz).
Anonymous asked: Just stumbled across your site! My parents spoke a bit of Yiddish around me ... they pronounced words a bit differently. For instance, instead of "meed" (tired), they'd say "meet". Is that just an accent, or is it a different dialect?
It sounds to me like a dialectal issue. Weinreich writes about how in Central Yiddish (Poland-Galicia), the tendency was to distinguish voiced (requiring the use of one’s vocal cords, like b,d,g) vs. voiceless (not requiring the vocal cords, like p,t,k) consonants based on where they fell in the word - if they fell in the middle of the word, then they were voiced (b,d,g), while if they fell at the end, they were voiceless (p,t,k). I assume, based on your description, that your parents must have come from the territory of Central Yiddish (or at least picked their Yiddish up from those who spoke that dialect), since they pronounced the consonant at the end of the Yiddish word מיד (cognate with German “müde”) as a [t] rather than a [d] sound.
Shtekn, Shulamit Seidler-Feller